Wednesday, November 10, 2010

"Water Bottle"

One of the most viewed images I have on Flicker is this shot of a "Water Bottle" which I did for "The Strobist Bootcamp" four years ago.
I shoot toy products
everyday for a living but most of my daily assignments involve simple lighting set ups. The lighting of this self assignment was interesting so I thought I'll re-post it here.

Instead of taking another shot of a bottle of water like everyone else I thought I borrow an idea from one of my brothers in the Philippines who shot an Absolut Vodka Ad about ten years ago. The idea is to actually create a “bottle” out of water.

Below is the lighting and shooting the set up.

I used one light source. I set up a 4’ X 6’ Lightform diffusion panel opposite the camera and behind it was a single Canon 430EX speedlite with gobos on a stand about five and half feet high, angled down towards the set.

The "water" is actually clear mineral oil that is sometimes used in “ wet” shots. Mineral oil is a little bit thicker than water.

The ice cubes are made of acrylic, available at the Set Shop in New York City. I bought these a few years ago for another liquid shot. The Set Shop sells different models of “ice”.
The Aquafina label is glossy and for my light set up it would produce so much glare, making it unreadable. I scanned, re-sized and printed the label and pasted it on a piece of cardboard so that it would stay above the surface of the liquid and not get messed up. I made a few of them. I planned to shoot the props on a piece of black plexi-glass to produce the effect I wanted but since I didn’t have time to get one I used a cut up piece of black plastic folder.

The black plastic folder background is only about 9” X 12” so I had to keep my composition real tight. I arranged the glass, ice cubes, and label and composed the image in my viewfinder. I did a few test shots to make sure I got the exposure right and made sure the light falls on the set the way I wanted to. Once satisfied with the lighting and exposure, I proceeded with the hardest part of the endeavor, “drawing” the liquid bottle with a medicine dropper. The mineral oil runs and expands quickly, loosing it shape so I had to shoot quickly. I had to repeat the process several times before I got a relatively good-looking bottle shape. The tight space of the set dictated the size and shape of the bottle.

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